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Are You the Fuel or the Piston of Your Brand? – The Butler’s Rant


10 Oct 2018


Yes, I know some of you will say that headline is a little cliché, but it’s not because I’m a massive petrol head. What I am though – is a great motivator and a fan of a good analogy to make my point – so hear me out.

We (me and you) are fairly confident in what we do; or so I would like to think. As online marketers, we share a common history; building small to medium projects on our own and marketing/monetising them.

Let’s be honest, even with confidence it’s still sometimes difficult to motivate yourself to achieve your ambitions.

When your brand becomes bigger than you, you need to redefine your processes.

How? Here’s a little rant all about this. I’ll get to the piston part soon, promise!


The Wall

As you scale your business, what you realise is that there is only so much you can do on your own, and there are only so many hours in a day.

You hit The Wall when it becomes clear your business needs something extra before it can grow any more. It’s a tough reality that can be hard to accept. Whether you consider yourself a perfectionist or not, we all are extremely dedicated and invested in our projects, brands, and businesses.

And rightfully so: because at the end of the day, it’s our livelihood, right?

But as many of you can relate, there inevitably comes a crossroad in every project where we have to face the music and make a decision. And that decision is to take a risk that means we potentially scale and make more money; OR to stay where you are, sticking with what you know, shying away in your comfort zone and not fulfilling your true potential.

Of course, keeping things the way they are is always an attractive option because it makes us less vulnerable. But, what exactly are the implications of this?

As the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. You’ll soon be bored with the same old ideas, and your brand will stagnate. Your own fear will stand in the way of your progression. You’ll only leave that wall behind if you diversify.

To expand on this, ask yourself: What are you really sacrificing (or not sacrificing) by staying comfortable? What are you actually risking by not adding resources to your team? And who will take the rudder when you can’t?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am obsessed with knowing exactly what goes on in my own organisation every second of the day. But it is how you facilitate this that is so important, which many fail to recognise as an essential component to reaching their true potential.


Becoming a Motivator

I believe that successful, optimised business leaders should take the role of the Motivator. In this role, it’s your responsibility to deliver incredible enthusiasm to your team, regardless of how things are going behind the scenes.

The business leader is the one who sets the tone for the whole organisation.

And this, my friends, is where the relevancy of my cliché analogy takes fruition.

I’ll ask again: Are you the fuel or the piston?

Allow me to explain.


The Motivator = The Fuel

When I first started my business, I spent 95% of my day dealing with processes, tasks, and working incredibly hard on growth; just as I should have. An understatement would be to say that it saw phenomenal growth.

All our hard work had paid off exponentially… At first.

After 6 months of dedicating 100% of our time towards our business, and experiencing huge success, we were soon dropped back down to earth when we realised our growth had come to a standstill.

At the time we were shocked. We put in 18-hour work days; offered exceptional availability to all our customers; jumped on the phone or Skype calls whenever we could. Why was this happening?

And then we realised… We were acting as the pistons of the SEOButler engine.


The Pitfalls of Being a Piston

Put simply, the purpose of a piston is to transfer force throughout the engine to ensure that it will function. Essentially, we were functioning as the transferring force in the brand’s engine. Sure, for a time that was relevant. But, as with any business, this type of functionality from the founders will naturally lose traction as the fuel runs out.

At the start of any great idea, the founders will naturally serve dual roles of being both the piston(s) and the fuel. It is their ideas that fuel the pistons. But eventually, there will always come a time when the role of the piston has to be transferred to another facet (or people) involved with the brand.

This is the harsh reality many of us fail to acknowledge.

I realised I had to adjust my thinking if I wanted to continue to succeed. I had to embrace my role and obligation of ONLY being the fuel that runs the engine I created.


How to Fuel Your Brand

So – how did I make this transition, and how can you?

  1. Hire project managers
  2. Hire dedicated customer support
  3. Conduct weekly meetings with the team
  4. Invest in devising better task management strategies

To me, bullets one and two are self-explanatory. But I would like to comment on bullets three and four.

Weekly meetings with the team meant that not only could we all get an update on every project, but we could collaborate to foster inspiration about issues we ourselves didn’t have solutions for.

Meetings are also the most excellent way MOTIVATE everyone. By sharing analytical data, as well as enthusiastic talks about everything we are doing as a team, we could witness the impact of everyone’s hard work.

Feeling like you’re letting go is really hard, especially once you are so invested in, and even emotional about, your brand. But – you aren’t losing anything by delegating tasks and hiring more help. You’re gaining fresh sets of eyes, tonnes of new ideas and more essential ambition to drive your brand.

When you invest in better task management strategies, you soon realise that you are able to get a lot more done in much less time.

And time is money, as I have covered before in another post.

You can build the most intricate engine with the most advanced technology, that should have the capability to surpass every competitor.

But it is simple: without the fuel, the pistons won’t fire, and the engine will not perform.

Being the fuel is the most necessary role that you can assume when it comes to the functionality and prosperity of your brand.

Without the fuel, your engine won’t work. Period.






Great article. For me holding meetings with my team works really well. I have found it is what keeps all of us moving at the same pace and in the same direction, which is critical for attainment of a common goal.

James Dooley

Greatly put and explanation.

Hiring staff is the first process majority of owners can do easily.

But to hire STRATEGISTS and PROJECT MANAGERS to run the team is much harder.

Why? Because this is a way of letting go in day to day running of the business which only entrepreneurs can manage to do that then allows them to set up multiple ventures.

The standard business owner will want to keep full control and not hire the needed role to manage the team.

Love how you put this mate and excited for more articles shared.

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